Raiders No Match for Texans in Home Opener

Houston drops Oakland to 0-2 with 30-14 decision as defense again is overmatched

Two games into the season, two defeats.

Now comes a cross-country trip to play the Patriots.

It’s time for Raiders fans to start worrying about the 2014 edition of this Oakland team.

After losing a one-score game to the Jets in New Jersey last weekend, 19-14, the Raiders were trounced by the Houston Texans in their home opener Sunday at O.co Coliseum, 30-14.

Though the first two games of the schedule looked winnable against two teams that struggled in 2013 – including the Texans, who finished 2-14 – the Raiders gave up two long touchdown drives to the Texans to start the game, trailed 17-0 at the half and 27-0 at the end of the third quarter before losing by 16 points.

The run defense again was disappointing, as was the lack of a pass rush on Texans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. And the Raiders’ ineptitude was epitomized by one play in which Raiders receiver James Jones made a nice catch at the Texans 30-yard line, fumbled, recovered the ball, streaked to about the 12 where he fumbled again – with Houston recovering on its own 3.

By the third quarter, some fans on Twitter were asking for head coach Dennis Allen to be fired.  Several more were skeptical their team would win a game this season. When the Raiders finally punched in a fourth-quarter TD, on Darren McFadden’s 1-yard run with about 14 minutes to play, one frustrated fan tweeted, “Wow #Raiders got on the scoreboard. Congrats guys on finding the end zone and not turning it over.”

Of course, instead of holding the Texans on the next drive, the Raiders promptly gave up a time-eating, 14-play field-goal drive to go down 30-7. When the Raiders added another touchdown on a 9-yard pass to Jones, less than 30 seconds remained in the game.

The Raiders gave the ball up four times, twice on rookie QB Derek Carr’s first interceptions of his career  and twice on fumbles by Jones and Mychal Rivera. The Raiders defense, meanwhile, had no takeaways.

Though Carr made mistakes Sunday, he wasn’t the reason for the Raiders loss. He completed 20-of-31 throws for 193 yards and a score and also ran for a 42-yard gain on an option keeper.

But the Raiders offensive line couldn’t open holes in the Texans defense, so the running game floundered, and the Oakland defense again underperformed, unable to stop Arian Foster (138 yards rushing) or Fitzpatrick (139 yards on 14 completions, with two TDs).

Now comes a long flight to the Eastern time zone – where Oakland has lost 14 straight – to take on the Patriots, who walloped the Vikings Sunday, 30-7.

If the Raiders fall to 0-3 with a loss next Sunday, they would top even the futility of the 4-12 Oakland teams of the past two seasons, who at least won one of their first three games.

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